Taking what may be my first actual full on “break” in a few years this week… it should come as no surprise that my life became filled with silliness and toys… so let’s kick off this catch up post with: Xploderz and their H2GROW Ammo - after having them on NOTCOT.org, when i ran across these new age water guns in person, i HAD to get one. So, here’s an unboxing of the Xploderz Xranger 2000 and a peek at how the pellets become the ammo you see. On first impressions, LOVE the concept, but the execution does leave quite a bit to be desired. The balls are actually more Tapioca/Boba/Bubble tea like… think jello jiggler marbles that smoosh on contact. You won’t really be hurting each other with these, but they do shoot impressively far and straight. Be warned though, if you’re preparing for a full on war, prep early, it takes over 4 hours to have a fresh set of ammo soak up its full potential… experiments to try later: can these become jello shots? can you use other similarly sized pellets? Frozen pellets? And to mitigate the disappointment, these are all about the novelty of the ammo… the gun doesn’t let you actually pull the trigger and the plastic/design of the gun leaves something to be desired. To launch, you pull and release, essentially launching the pellet… you also have to reload between each shot. But ~ on to the details to give you a better feel of this Xploderz Xranger 2000 and it’s jello shot like pellets, check out the next page!
So many puns just itching to get typed with this one… Graph/Graffiti, etc… Anyhow, unmistakeable is the rise (or near overwhelming amount?) of infovisualizations and infographics the last few years… So the real question is, why haven’t we seen more of this infiltrating the street art scene?
When i popped by the Studio for Creative Inquiry at CMU last weekend, i got a sneak peek at Golan Levin playing with this latest project ~ a DIY stencil for making Info-graph-iti (details up at F.A.T.: Free Art & Technology)! Using the stencil, you can use the pointer (adjustable using the tension bolt/wing-nut) and assortment of letters (attached easily with tape) to create a pie chart just about anywhere. There’s even a tiny arrow to show which section of the chart is described by your text, as well as 100 tick marks to make percentage accuracy easy.
While i love the concept ~ there’s one thing i’d love to add ~ i like my pie charts multi-colored, or at least multi-textured. Perhaps the addition of a fan or perforated stretchy material between the moving arm and the fixed divider would allow for some more playful spray painting. (Also make it look less clock like!) Fan it out to keep one section blank for a more pacman like look? Or use that, then invert it, to spray paint the significant wedge a crazy neon pink to really make it pop? You can even download the files and details. Now if only i could get my hands on laser cutter to try it out… See more pics on the next page!
There are so many possible stories to come out of the weekend in Pittsburgh at CMU with Deeplocal and Toyota for the Ideas For Good project. There are the ones in press kits, the ones marketing/pr folks go through the motions of giving you info for, and then the best ones - the one’s you discover BEING THERE. Forgive the rant, but this one’s been long over due and i just wanted to clear the air.
PRESS TRIPS. Yes, they pay for airfare, hotel, food, essentially babysitting you from door to door. Have they BOUGHT a post? Certainly not. Not even close. In fact it could be more dangerous bringing people RIGHT into the mix of an event, what if it all goes wrong? What if they find out more than you are ready to share? Do some people see it like a “free trip”? Sure. But honestly, that’s not how i see them here on NOTCOT, because lets face it… If i wanted a “free trip” i could fly somewhere and feed myself and NOT work. An amazing press trip is more like being invited and escorted to the party you were scheming about crashing. It’s about getting an opportunity to get right in to the thick of it and EXPERIENCE something that few will ever get to. And then the real responsibility comes in sharing what YOU find noteworthy about the experience ~ your words, your pictures, your angle. Afterall, if they could just BUY a story, isn’t a lot cheaper just to throw some cash around and a prewritten story and pics?
So, this is just a little ramble for all the people i’ve run across in real life lately ~ outside of these experiences ~ who asked the simple (and totally reasonable question) of WHY do these brands and groups fly you all over the world to write about them? And i’d like to think the answer is because they LOVE you guys (the NOTCOT readers) and trust me enough to come along on their ride to find the fun and unexpected to share and inspire us!
Also, on NOTCOT philosophies on press trips and products that come through ~ the overarching question is never was it “free” (hate to break it to you, but nothing is free) ~ the first question is always “IS IT AWESOME?” and second is “Would I write about it regardless of whether i purchased it/went on my own?” And the third test - was it as amazing as i’d hoped in person? If it passes these three tests, you’ll probably be hearing about it here. The ones who don’t… we can quietly ignore. And if you have more questions on the subject, feel free to leave a note below!
Ok ~ now on to the firetruck. My inner 5 year old is back in full force ~ though the fireman Gary didn’t quite let me climb around on the ladder while extended, it was still a blast getting to wander around and take pics from the TELE-SQURT (awesome name in great typography!)… go see the pics on the next page, they make me happy. Also, how awesome is watching Slim Pictures at work? They were like the secret stars of the show… can’t wait to see all they’ve been hard at work capturing in all of my pics this weekend! SO, for now ~ Firetruck! Next page…
As a new mom, it is easy to be overwhelmed by the amount of baby stuff out there. Skip Hop is a favorite of mine for their refreshingly playful and modern designs, and for their affordable prices. I got to go to their offices to check out their Fall 2011 preview, where there were lots of new additions to the Skip Hop collection. I also got a behind the scenes look at Skip Hop’s design space, and met their lead designer (who is seven months pregnant!). Check out some photos from my visit on the next page!
They are good with the design details, aren’t they? As usual, couldn’t resist sharing the moleskine like notebook from Mercedes-Benz waiting in my room at the Shangri-La… the details, the texture in particular, the quote and graphics… it has this oceany/fingerprint like pattern/texture to it… it just pulls you in to touch it.
OH - and if i got quiet for more than the weekend (or you don’t hear from me by Monday or Tuesday) ~ come find me! First thing in the morning, i’m hopping on Mike Horn’s Pangaea massive sail boat ~ joining his world wide expedition for around 36 hours (or less?) ~ as we hop up to San Francisco from LA… but for now… more notebook details on the next page, and adventure pics to come!
These bikes are adorable, hyperfunctional and i can’t stop staring! Found these and more over at Rolling Orange. Bakfietsen (Bakfiets is singular!) are like the SUVs of bikes ~ super cargo bikes ready to haul whatever you can fit in them ~ kids, pets, picnics, farmer’s marketing, rapid prototyping machine, just about anything! Ready to see more? Take a peek on the next page… so tempting!
I never knew the history of Nudie cards till this post. Did you know - “The birth of modern-day nudie cards can be traced to 16th century cards from India depicting the positions of the Kama Sutra. By the turn of the 20th century, during the Art Nouveau movement, erotic card decks appeared celebrating a renewed appreciation of the female form. These decks evolved to include illustrations or photographs of nude models, flappers, burlesque singers, and pin-up girls. Because these cards were not legal at the time, they were often sold under the guise of art studies.” They started as “art” not “porn”? Fascinating, right? Also, apparently for these new Ryan McGinness Blacklight Nudie Cards for the Standard, each abstracted drawing was from actual figure studies of models… even the three boobed ones! (Ok, so a few have multiple bodies, but they still are near indecipherable, as creative as you get!) Printed with fluorescent inks, these cards are optimal for glowing goodness under blacklights. I showed you a peek at McGinness’ show that started this series as well as the vinyls at the The Standard New York and limited edition prints of the cards, now, take a peek at the unboxing and close ups of the cards on the next page!
On fun surprises that arrived ~ little package came from Duncan Shotton a designer at Kinneir Dufort… inside the adorable little stamped box? Denzel! A prototype of the ambassador they designed for their Revive Concept Phone - that gets better with age. Take a peek at Denzel’s unboxing, a video of the concept in action, and more on the next page!
Seed Pills! It seems like such a natural fit ~ everyone should be prescribed some seed pills to do their part and add a little more green to our world! Another project we encountered as part of the Selfridges’ GROW Concept Store and Guerilla Gardening Windows - Vanessa Harden’s seed pills. In addition to these clear pill capsules filled with seeds (which are purchasable in store), she has designed a series of “Subversive Gardener” concepts to do everything from launch the seeds from an umbrella’s top (as seen in her window display) or a bag to drill holes into the ground or a camera to launch seeds… as well as a “Horticulturalist Series” with seeds shooting out of a gun, or a walking stick… and more! Gel capsules with tiny seeds - melting down dispersed throughout the world, the idea of prescribing more green is just what some of us need! Take a peek on the next page…
Yay! Portal 2. (Boo PSN has been down though, and for days?!?!) Reddit thread about guy turning the in-game posters into high res images… lead to this gallery of images from the game… and really, the writers and designers had far too much fun with Portal 2. The details are so fun, here’s a peek at some of my favorites!
p.s. and if you’ve missed them, the Investment Opportunity videos are so fun!
Discovered over at 10 Corso Como, our favorite truck tarp upcyclers, Freitag, have a pop up shop! Featuring a “strictly limited FAKE SNAKE edition in green/grey” for the store, and an installation of Roadkill! Various animals, from rats to birds to foxes to kangaroos, cut in truck tarpaulins are given away for you to put on your bag in solidarity to all the poor creatures that are killed on the roads each day… see more of the description and set up (which include that machine to weld them on to your bag even!) on the next page… i couldn’t help picking up an adorable green kangaroo!
Definitely my favorite find of the day. I clearly have a thing for swings and for unique woody products that show off their original tree edges… well the Swedish No Picnic’s ALMA series of ‘social swings’ combine just that! They also remind me of the Loyal Loot Log Bowls! They feel like rough logs that were sliced to make a bench, then milled out and lacquered for a seat/seats in bold colors. Strung up with thick black rope, they are tied in clusters to the beams high above. Though a bit slippery, they certainly are gorgeous and fun to swing in! Apparently these are “meant to represent the soul of Sweden. As Leonardo Salzedo says, ‘As teamwork is needed to enjoy the swing, so in our everyday life a conjoint effort is important to reach a common goal’.” Gorgeous, fun, and in so many colors and sizes, they were a delight to swing in… take a peek at many pics of them on the next page ~ as well as some making of photos!
Just touched down in Milan ~ on things to look forward to upon arrival home next next week ~ Portal 2! Finally! But first to keep us going, while waiting a bit longer… three awesome videos of “Investment Opportunities” ~ looking at Panels, Bots, and Turrets! I’m conflicted as to whether to wish for more videos, or for the game to FINALLY arrive… So fun, so pretty, watch them all on the next page!
On fun Berlin discoveries, my favorite store of the moment is a teeny, tiny, beautifully minimalist little stationery shop that just turned 10(!) ~ R.S.V.P. Papier in Mitte! And on irresistible pens, i had to have some of these Kaweco Pens (German made, and around since 1883) from the 30s ~ so pocket sized, so simple in their black and white plastic with both rollerball and fountain pen tips, and so many fun ink colors ~ all of which are in awesome packaging! The pens also come in more traditional aluminum in silver, charcoal, and black. These are all totally fun, affordable giftiness. The store is a wonderland of notebooks, cards, stickers, pens/pencils and more SO carefully curated and displayed. And, luckily they have an online store that ships internationally too! So quick hotel room photoshoot of the goodies on my Soho House floor, as well as a peek into the store ~ check it all out on the next page!
On things that look like one thing but are really other things, these notebooks i found at Merci while in Paris are just that. From Japanese stationery line, D-Bros ~ these notebooks have images of tools on them… particularly tools that can hang! And then there is a hole so you can hang the notebooks as if hanging the tool… with hammers, scissors, paint brushes, shovels, and even ladles… they look great hanging in your office! While black and white on the covers, they are colorful within, with dotted pages in blue, yellow, pink. Check out the details of the hammer and scissor ones on the next page!